Real-Estate brokers, investors and successful business owners will tell you time and time again that location is everything. Whether you want to start your own legal practice or open a “cat friendly” cafe, choosing the right location can mean the difference between feast or famine. One of the most sought after areas in the city of Montreal is the Old Port, which attracts millions of people each year. It is known for its many restaurants, terraces and boutiques. It is also the site of such key architectural structures as Montreal City Hall, the Palais de Justice de Montréal, the Quebec Court of Appeal and the Notre-Dame Basilica. For locals, it’s a great place to go out on a date or enjoy a casual stroll while soaking up the European inspired architecture. For tourists, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of the many street performances and visit Montreal’s oldest historical sites.
The Greeks will have you believe that they invented everything. After all, Ancient Greece is often referred to as the birthplace of Western civilization. Aside from democracy and philosophy, the Ancient Greeks contributed to many inventions we still use today, such as the alarm clock, the thermometer, the odometer and our personal favourite: the souvlaki pita. Did you know that coffee comes from the word “kafeini”, which in Greek means caffeine? True story. Supposedly, Socrates and Plato drank 3 cups of coffee a day to keep their creative juices flowing. While we may not have the factual evidence to back up that last claim, we can assure you that the Greeks know a thing or two about making coffee. In fact, our latest bromance adventure brought us to Melina’s Phyllo Bar, where we got a taste of what it means to live the “Greek Life” (more on this later).
Last week, Emma Morano, the oldest person in the world, passed away at the graceful age of 117. She was believed to have been the last surviving person born in the 1800s. Having lived for over a century, she most likely witnessed a drastic change in modern society, specifically with respect to transport. The world has come a long way since the days when our great grand-parents used a horse and cart to get around. With huge advances in science and technology, the average person living in the 21st century now owns a car. That being said, our generation is slowly starting to realize that the automobile doesn’t make a lot of sense in an urban context. It isn’t just the smog or car accidents; in a city, cars aren’t even a convenient way to get around. In fact, a growing number of European cities are banning cars in certain neighborhoods. With so much traffic, construction and pollution, it’s no wonder so many urbanites have adopted cycling as an alternative way to get around the city. Imagine a place where cyclists can shop or repair their bicycles, all while enjoying a cup of coffee. Enter Allo Vélo.
The fashion industry moves way too fast. One day you walk out the door wearing a deep v-neck t-shirt, looking like a total stud, and the next day people are calling you a douchebag. In today’s society it can be quite difficult to keep up with current fashion trends as they are continually evolving. What might have been the coolest thing to wear a few seasons ago can now be totally outdated. This social phenomenon can also be seen in the food industry. “Organic”, “vegan”, “clean eating” and “healthy” are words we commonly see on television and read in social media. Celebrity chefs often remind us that using locally sourced produce not only encourages small businesses, but can also have certain health benefits. One of the most talked about trends at the moment is farm-to-table; a movement which promotes acquiring food directly from the producer. In coffee circles, this movement is often referred to as “third wave coffee”. Last week we paid a visit to Café Névé Laval, one of the top players in Montreal’s third wave coffee scene. Going in skeptical but intrigued, we left with a growing interest in this popular trend.
In high school we are told to choose a career for the rest of our lives, when most of us can’t even decide what we want for dinner. Through trial and error, we eventually find our calling. Some of us fall into it, while others are thrown into it. This decision can be even more difficult to make when your family owns a business. It would be the understatement of the year to say that running a successful business is hard; especially being in Quebec where we are limited by language laws and higher tax rates. All that risk, hard work, and continual pressure to stay above rising costs isn’t for the faint of heart. You need thick skin to be in business and even thicker skin to be successful at it. Diandra Alzani was born into a family that knows coffee. Through her innovative ideas and modern approach she has succeeded in taking her family business to the next level: Le Café Crème 2.0.
Let’s be honest: coffee is cool. Do you know what’s even cooler? Posting pictures of coffee on the internet. With the advent of Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, the food scene in general has become a worldwide obsession. Many of us can’t resist taking pictures of our food before we actually taste it (guilty as charged). Just the other day, we were having lunch together and we witnessed a woman shamelessly take various shots of what seemed to be a sliced avocado and three cherry tomatoes. It was strange, to say the least…
Life can get pretty busy sometimes, and this past Saturday was no exception. Between our regular household chores, visiting the tailor and picking up a dozen zeppole for San Giuseppe, we both had our hands full and decided to reschedule our morning bromance to later that afternoon. As we zipped down the highway in the bromance mobile, we reminisced about how simple life was in our early twenties. Back then, there were no full time jobs, mortgages or life insurance policies. Our biggest concern was whether we were going to eat pizza or 2$ chow mein after leaving the club at 3 AM. Perhaps our fathers were right when they said: “enjoy it now, while you still can.” When we finally reached Westmount and walked into the new Cafe Gentile location, we were shocked to see how busy it was.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Spring was just around the corner but we were still dealing with a winter that refused to die! We had hoped for a mild Saturday morning, but yet again the bitter cold was threatening our existence and testing Joey’s ability to take pictures for our article. Nevertheless, this was definitely not the first time we had visited the quaint neighborhood of Villeray. In fact, over the past few years, Villeray had become a regular meeting place for our bromance sessions. Its proximity to Jarry Park, the Jean-Talon market and Little Italy make it the perfect location for young families and empty nesters seeking a diversified urban lifestyle. With this change in social demographic, independently owned businesses have been seemingly popping up all over the area.
Have you ever walked into a cafe and said to yourself: there’s something in the air, the vibe, the food, and the people? That’s what the dynamic duo felt this past Saturday on a blisteringly cold morning. Whenever it gets cold like this we think of when our grandparents emigrated from Southern Italy, and if only they could have sold that extra cow to pay for a boat ticket to Australia; life could have been very different…
Anyhow back to our Canadian reality… Dei Campi translates into Deschamps, which is the last name of the extremely talented pastry chef, wife and co-owner behind this Rosemont gem. Together with her charming husband Nick, Isabelle cranks out some seriously decadent vegan desserts. Have we converted to veganism? Time to find out:
It might be a combination of factors which led us to the creation of this blog. Aside from our passion for coffee, there is a certain familiarity that we enjoy every time we set foot into a cafe. Our first memories in cafes were forged in our youth with our fathers and grandfathers, both in Italy and in Montreal. In many European countries, stopping by your local cafe for a quick espresso or cappuccino is part of a daily routine. The whole European experience is quite different from the fast-food Americanized coffee chains we’re familiar with in North America. Cafes are meant for social gatherings; a quick pit stop before starting your day, a place to discuss sports, politics or anything else for that matter. After a while, the barista becomes your go-to guy, an underpaid psychologist of sorts.